27 April 2012

Birthday boss Simunic wants a birthday gift

Friday, April 27, 2012
VJERAN Simunic (pic) prefers to look at DPMM FC's first loss of the season as a blessing in disguise.

Second in the Singapore League (S-League), the Bruneian behemoths face Woodlands Wellington FC in their 10th match of the season tonight the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas playing host to the game.

A win will see the hosts displace Balestier Khalsa FC who are one point above them on 21 and have played one more game than the Bruneians but DPMM FC's head coach still had his mind on last week's 1-0 defeat to Home United.

"We needed to lose a game. You learn more after losing one game than winning 10," he pondered. "Every coach needs to know how his players (react) after a loss, especially those that have never played in the S-League before.

"Now it's very important that we win tomorrow (Friday). Tomorrow is my birthday so we must win I don't like to be sad on my birthday," he grinned during yesterday's pre-match Press conference in Berakas.

Though DPMM FC look to be the favourites on paper the Rams are 10th in the 13-team league Simunic, who turns 57 today, disagrees.

Certainly, with two wins and two losses in their previous four encounters, tonight's game is anyone's guess especially with the tightest of scorelines separating the two sides each time they have met.

Their first meeting was four years ago in 2008, when the Bruneians fell 1-0 to Woodlands in the first round of the 2008 Singapore Cup.

DPMM FC came out on top the second time they faced each other, beating the Singaporeans 2-1 at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in March 2009.

The Woodlands Stadium played host to the return fixture three months later, where the hosts prevailed 2-1 this time around.

But DPMM FC's most memorable match against Woodlands came in June 2009, when they beat the Singaporeans 2-1 to reach the Singapore League Cup which the Bruneians later won after pipping giants Singapore Armed Forces FC on penalties.

"Woodlands are the first opponents we lost to when we first started," reminded the Croatian.

"They are a big name ... a big team. There is no easy game for DPMM FC ... All teams come here to win," said the coach.

Clement Teo readily agreed with Simunic.

"It doesn't matter how far we travel and where we play, the aim is always to win," insisted Woodlands' assistant coach.

"There might be a backlash after their first loss plus their players will want to give Simunic a birthday present.

"Playing here boosts players' morale they shouldn't be nervous," noted Tan when asked what he thought about playing at the S-League's largest venue.

Woodlands will be without right-winger Goh Swee Swee, who was shown a red card during their 2-1 loss to Harimau Muda (Malaysian Under-23 team) on April 15.

Australian forward Hussein Akil might be out due to injury while Trinidad and Tobago defender Fabien Lewis is currently in the United States.

The side's other two imports English defender and team captain Daniel Hammond and South Korean striker Moon Soon-ho are both available.

DPMM FC, though, have no injury or suspension concerns so sealing all three points should be on top of their minds tonight.The Brunei Times

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